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From: (Jobst Brandt)
Subject: Re: Europe's hardest paved road climbs listed
Date: 24 Nov 1998 22:49:52 GMT

Sergio Servadio writes:

>> As I mentioned in my ride report from this summer, Roads from
>> Pederu' in the dolomites exceed 30%, the steep sections of which
>> are paved.  Jobst Brandt

> Well Jobst, may I beg to differ!

> The one through Pederu' and Alpe di Fanes can hardly be called a
> 'regular' road; much more appropriate to refer to it as a military
> trail (as basically all were on the Alps since the Romans) that has
> been re-styled for 4-wheelers.  It was only for an extra thrill that
> I suggested it to you a couple of years ago.

I didn't claim it was a "regular road".  I just used it as an example
of "my roads are steeper than yours".  Filbert St in San Francisco is
also not the norm, being one-way downhill to protect people from
hurting themselves.

> As for the Katschberg, I never went back after I hit it first:
> unexpected and too steep for me and my gear, many years ago.
> I did walk a couple of hundred meters.

> Any hill can be done at the appropriate, so often ridiculous, pace
> (but what is ridiculous to one may be a heroic enterprise to another
> person). And a listing can be useful for people to know what to expect and
> plan accordingly.

I don't think so.  Filbert Street in SF demonstrates that excellently.
It is only 2/3 block (~40m) long but is so steep that taken in a small
gear is too slow to balance.  It must be taken anaerobically in a
sprint to remain above the speed of stability.  Many have tried and
failed the low gear approach.

The belief that a sufficiently low gear will surmount any hill
(assuming traction is good) is false.  Under hard work, balance does
not come easy.

Jobst Brandt      <>

Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 19:55:02 -0800
From: Mark Bulgier <>
Subject: Re: Europe's hardest paved road climbs listed

Twenty-some years ago when I lived in Los Angeles I did an organized ride
called the Fargo Street Hillclimb.  If you made it, you got an embroidered
patch that claimed the hill, about 3 short blocks long IIRC, averaged 33%.
People there told me the upper, steeper part was 35%

People who tried and failed usually fell and slid down 'til spectators
grabbed them.  It was impossible to walk, or even stand really, in cycling

As Jobst pointed out, too low of a gear made it impossible.  You had to
sprint in a moderately low gear.  I made it, in a 42 x 28, but had no urge
to ever try it again!  Agonizing to sprint for that long, and downright
scary to see what happened if you failed.

Do they still run this event?  Has my memory embellished it or is it really
as steep as I remember?

Mark Bulgier

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